So I’m going to write a post about money, prefacing it by saying that I tend to be Chicken Little when it comes to money issues and scream THE SKY IS FALLING while Gabe says, “Money is not real.” So we have vastly different opinions when it comes to these things. It’s not that I can’t afford to pay things off, I do- and it’s not that Gabe doesn’t pay things off or believe in the value of a dollar, but he doesn’t think it’s worth stressing out about.
All of that being said, when we initially learned we were pregnant- we were both completely freaked at the prospect of how much having and raising a baby/child costs. Different websites give you different averages, and then there’s college- which they say will cost upwards of $300K when Thumbkin decides to go– although these days I may discourage education since it doesn’t really seem to benefit people in anyway other than to saddle them with unyielding student loan debt and set them behind uneducated people who’ve already been in the workforce for 4 more years gaining seniority and hogging up all the good vacation days around Christmas.
So when we talked about pregnancy/raising kid costs, we said- “Well we’re both employed, with salaries and insurance, certainly we’re much better off than MANY people right now- we can do this.”
And we can.
However, when I started budgeting for paying back student loans, I took a look at the credit cards I’d stopped using but had attempted to start just paying off. I have paid off cards before, so I realize it’s no small feat and takes a long time. I just decided I’m DONE paying interest and I’m DONE using fake money I really don’t have. This means, that (gasp) if I don’t have the money in my pocket for something, I have to save up. I can’t put it on a payment plan, etc. It’s not like it’s that strange really- but when a person already lives pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck it can be really scary in case things “come up”. So we started saving and started paying off the big-bill of maternity/prenatal bill costs. Excuse me if this number sounds very small to you, but to me and my very detailed budget, an extra $600 is a lot of money. We JUST paid it off last pay period and I felt so good about it. I was under the impression that (until we checked out of the hospital) we were done with paying doctor bills for a while…like at least 4 weeks.
Then I got a call from the fancy schmancy hospital I chose (perhaps my first mistake) asking for $300 deposit upfront “as a courtesy”…. And I said, “Exsqueeze me what?!” and immediately- not $hitting you, I feel my blood pressure spike and start seeing bright lights in my field of vision. Do they mean this is a courtesy for ME or for THEM? My insurance covers all but 20% of the costs so they create an “average” ahead of time and ask if I’d like to pay it now.
No. No, I would not like to pay it now. I would like to cry. I asked the lady, well what is the approximate cost? Give me a ballpark figure? She said I’d have to call their customer (poor people) hotline for that information. Then she said that having a baby is seen as an outpatient procedure. I said, “Everything I’ve read and was told said 2 days for a vaginal delivery…do I not stay 2 days?” The lady on the phone started fumbling…didn’t know what to say and opted for, “Well we wouldn’t send you home if you still needed to be there honey.”
I’m thinking, hand me my baby, cut the cord. Yank out the damned placenta, sew me up, write me a script for percosets and send me home then- $HIT. Send me the bill. And as a courtesy you can….*#%K right off.
I asked, “Well what do you ask from people who don’t have insurance?”
She said, “You don’t want to know.”
I think they ask for the uninsured’s baby. Like Rumplestiltskin.
Gabe and I have good jobs, I mean- we HAVE jobs which (right now) is in and of itself good. The fact that we are both employed with insurance, maternity leave and whatnot covered- we get it, we’re lucky- we say it all the time.
I just can’t stand this feeling of impending doom all the time like- I’m never going to get ahead. And the thing is, is I AM going to get ahead- faster than most of America in fact because I DON’T have credit cards anymore, we don’t use Gabe’s. We cut out a lot of expenses that aren’t necessary like cable and gym memberships (sigh). My car is paid off. In 9 years my student loan payments will be forgiven completely- POOF gone. We’re in much much better shape than most of the people yet I still can’t shake this feeling of….WHEN WILL IT END?!
So we’re going to end up paying 20% of whatever-it-costs-to-have-a-baby in a hospital. Which, according to the research I did on the computerwebs, will be somewhere between $4500-$8000 depending. I just paid $600 in prenatal care- what did that cover?
AND what do people WITHOUT insurance do? I mean- do they just hope they don’t get pregnant? *cross your fingers!*
It just reminds me of the last time I thought I had face cancer because I was getting headaches in my FACE due to a botched root canal. I couldn’t afford the root canal so the doctor forced me to get a credit card because they wouldn’t allow me to just pay them each month (this is one of the credit cards that I consolidated so now I’m paying off a root canal WITH INTEREST like a freaking sleeper-sofa) Anyways, my doctor wanted to make sure I didn’t have some sort of tumor in my face because of all of the swelling and strange pain. I had a CAT scan. Insurance covered a teensy bit. Then a few months later I got a bill- that I didn’t think was real. Then they called me. And I told the lady, “Look I can’t pay all of this right now so I don’ t know what you expect me to do.” She said, “Well maybe next time you think you need a procedure done you’ll think about whether or not you can afford it first.”
So that’s what I’m getting at people: I’m already completely freaked out about the whole- splitting in half to shoot a child from between my legs. Now I will also be glancing around the room wondering how much I’m paying to sit in their chairs, to get the drugs, to sleep on the crappy bed and use the pillows. I’ll be tallying all of that up WHILE ripping in half. Because that’s just who I am.
That’s a load of shit. And I have insurance. I’m one of the “lucky” ones.
*EDIT* I just read this post on another person’s blog. About halfway through she talks about how she’s being asked to pay ahead of time for her delivery, too. Messed up. She jokes about considering a home-birth next time. The more I read about that the more I think that might be the way to go in the future….as if I were as strong as the women I’ve seen on youtube or something…or ricki lake.